Taking the accounting sector’s temperature

Completed by over 9000 of NZICA’s 32,000 members and sponsored by Randstad, the survey provides the most detailed and up-to-date analysis of trends in the profession, including remuneration and employer and employee expectations.

The average chartered accountant’s remuneration has decreased slightly (2.5%) in the last year. The decrease is attributed to small decrease across each of the components of their package – including base, bonus, vehicle allowance etc. Remuneration for those on the next rung down – associate chartered accountants – has increased by 4% overall and pay for accounting technicians has also increased by 2.3% compared to their remuneration in the 2010 survey. The KiwiSaver/superannuation component of remuneration has increased for all designations, perhaps suggesting that saving and planning for the future has increased in importance over the last year. The survey shows accountants in senior roles have seen more significant fluctuation in their remuneration.

Over third of responders identified that the advice they are providing has changed over the last two years, reflecting the economic climate. Respondents identified that they are providing more advice with regard to cost control (15%), more conservative advice (12%), information about cash flow management (11%), and advice more focused on ‘surviving’ (9%). Almost two-thirds say they feel pressured to do more for less in the current business environment. The pressure was felt more acutely by members working in large public practice firms (72%) and those in the public sector (73%).

For first time this year, NZICA prompted respondents to outline what’s important to them in role and contrasted this with the ways employers attract and retain staff. Chartered accountants (CA), associate chartered accountants (ACA) and accounting technicians (AT) are all looking for similar attributes from role with work/life balance rated as most important by all designations, followed by career advancement and earning potential. The survey found that employers are looking to retain and attract staff through salaries, organisational culture, career advancement and training – most of which marry up with factors employees consider most important – although only 6% of employers considered work/life balance priority.

Asked to crystal ball gaze over the next five years, respondents felt that as the economy improved the advice they give will become more growth focused (14%) and strategic (8%). “These changes suggest members are optimistic about New Zealand’s future economic outlook,” says NZICA chief executive Terry McLaughlin “It also reinforces the changing role of New Zealand’s modern accounting professional – where value for clients and employers is derived from insight beyond the numbers.”

When asked about the major issues that the sector will face over the next five years the need to become more strategic (17%), keeping up with technology (15%), expanding areas of expertise (9%) and keeping up with legislative changes (9%) were most commonly identified.

• The research can be viewed in detail at nzica.com/remuneration.


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